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July 24, 2002
Judoist Haku Michigami
The numerous battles overseas starting from Shanghai
Throwing a 215cm tall navy soldier
Valuing senses and repeating: Differing responses from each country

His motto was "to show things himself"
Graduating Busen in 1938 and teaching at Kochi High School, he soon enters the military. He gets discharged in 3 months after injuring his right knee from falling into a trench during maneuvers. From 1940, he taught judo at the Shanghai Toadobunshoin University. This was the starting point of the countless legendary deeds overseas.
Soon after taking the new post, there was a phone call to the headmaster of Dobunshoin University from the Japanese consulate general. An Italian battleship had anchored itself in Shanghai, and they wanted someone to teach judo.
Back then, Japan and Italy were allies. The headmaster told me to go to promote friendly relations. When I went to the battleship a few days later, there were about 10 big men waiting for me. Out of them, one man about 215cm tall especially stood out. He was the champion of the Atlantic naval wrestling tournament, and that was why other Japanese judo teachers rejected the offer.
Upon my arrival, he challenged me. I am only 173cm tall. He had long arms, and I couldn't grab his collar. Although moves like ouchigari and kouchigari did not work at all, the man went flying when I tried a tomoenage.
Then the translator came up to me. "Please don't do that move again. I'll die if I fall into the river." It was said that dead bodies never came back up from the river because of the water pressure. Although I replied that the moves that I perform depend on the opponent's size and posture, I threw the soldiers with other moves after that incident.

After flying to France in 1953, he built his reputation as a teacher by winning matches.


Kawaishizukuri Sakenosuke, advisor to the French Judo Federation back then, said that a single loss overseas will end my judo career. Although he probably saw many in the past that had lost, I did not pay much attention to it. Not accepting challenges went against my mentality towards judo.
Things did not look that well when I first went to France. The atmosphere of European colonialism in Asia had not faded away completely. Everyone doubted if I was actually strong. The only way to prove myself was to win.
Once my reputation started to spread, I would get an offer now and then. When I stand on the tatami, there would be voices saying "Battre Japonais"(beat the Japanese). Then I would beat ten, twelve men in a row, and take a deep breath. That was the usual routine.
I've never experienced a single loss. I think I've tied about two times. It is not difficult to throw a man who does not know judo. They are puzzled why a man of my size could throw a bigger opponent. There is no secret to it. All one has to do is dodge the opponent's move and reverse it into a throw. This is the "Action-Reaction" judo I teach.
One fact that I realized from teaching was the differing reactions of each country. When I teach one move to the French, they say that they understand it very quickly. On the other hand, the Dutch will continue up to 30 minutes until their body memorizes the move. Anton Geesink, who will become Japan's rival in the sixties was a model of the latter.